The Charter - The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks

The Charter

The Company has had six Royal Charters. The first was granted by Henry IV in 1442 and again in 1448. Edward IV granted a charter in 1465 and 135 years later James I granted the fourth charter in 1610.

Charles I granted two charters, one in 1636 and the second in 1639. It is the last of these charters from which the Company operates.

Royal Charter of Incorporation:

Charles by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith: to all to whom these presents shall come greeting; WHEREAS the Parish Clerks of the City of London and the liberties thereof and their predecessors have for many years past been a fraternity or society incorporate; and by our late dear and royal father King James of blessed memory by his highness letters patent under his then great Seal of England in the ninth year of his reign were incorporated by the name of Master Wardens and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City of London and liberties thereof in and by which the particular divers liberties, privileges and immunities were granted unto them and their successors as by the same letters patent more at large appeareth: AND WHEREAS we at the humble petition of the said Parish Clerks of our said City of London and the liberties thereof and of the Parish Clerks as well of the nine outparishes to our said City of London adjoining as of our City of Westminster for the better order rule and government of them and every of them and of all such as should succeed them in office and offices of Parish Clerks within our said City of London and liberties thereof the nine outparishes adjoining and City of Westminster respectively did by our letters patent under our Great Seal of England bearing date the seven and twentieth day of February in the eleventh year of our reign incorporate them by the name of the Masters Wardens Assistants and Brethren of our Parish Clerks of the City of London and liberties thereof the nine outparishes and City of Westminster. And also granted unto them divers other liberties and privileges for the benefit of the said corporation as also in and by the said last mentioned letters patent of incorporation at large appeareth; AND WHEREAS the said Masters Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City of London and liberties thereof the nine outparishes adjoining and City of Westminster aforesaid have again lately presented unto us another humble petition touching some additions and amendments to be granted unto them whereas the former charters are short and defective beseeching us thereby that we would be graciously pleased that they may be newly incorporated by the name of Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and Suburbs of London and the liberties thereof, the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent in these presents hereafter particularly mentioned. And that for the better government of the said fellowship they and their successors for ever may have one Master two Wardens and seventeen Assistants. Likewise that the clause in their former charter concerning the collecting of their accustomed wages themselves and other things in their former charter may be amended and explained where the same is doubtfully or not fully and clearly expressed. And with further limitation that the Lord Bishop of the Diocese or his Chancellor wherein any new buildings are or hereafter which were never well assessed may have the power to assess the same for the entertainment and wages of the said parish clerks. Likewise that for the better satisfaction as well of all and every the clerks of all churches and chapels of ease, churchyards and places for burial of the dead within the parishes or places aforesaid as also where no parish clerk is, the sexton gravemaker or other that doth the office of interment at the burial in the place and stead of a parish clerk shall make weekly just and true reports to the Master and Wardens of the said company of Parish Clerks in such sort and at such times as the rest of the said company usually do of all the Burials and Christenings within their several parishes or places. Also in respect of their great and continual attendance and charge which they do undergo for our said service they the said Master Wardens and Brethren may be freed from all offices unless they themselves desire or yield themselves unto the same. And that one printer or person shall print or disperse our weekly or general bills or reports of Burial and christening or of either of them but such printer for the said fellowship. And lastly that the searchers in every particular parish may be employed to make true reports weekly to the Parish Clerks of the several diseases and casualties of all such as shall die in every parish whereby we may be truly informed weekly of the several diseases and casualties so happening. NOW for that the said Borough of Southwark and the several parish churches within the Borough aforesaid and likewise for that the six several parish churches of Lambeth, Saint Mary Newington, Redrifff, St Mary Islington, Stepney, alias Stebunheath and St Johns of Jerusalem alias Hackney have not been in any of their former charters particularly mentioned and expressed. And for that also the weekly Christening and Burial in the said six several churches of Lambeth, St Mary Newington, Redriff, St Mary Islington, Stepney alias Stebunheath and St Johns of Jerusalem alias Hackney in our counties of Middlesex and Surrey have been of late printed in the Parish Clerks weekly bills and cast unto the christenings, Burials and several diseases and casualties happening in the fourfold and seventeen parishes within the walls of our City of London the sixteen parishes without the walls thereof and at the pesthouse and in the nine outparishes in our counties of Middlesex and Surrey according to our will and pleasure to them, the said Masters Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks aforesaid signified and declared since the renewing of their last charter in the eleventh year of our reign aforesaid; KNOW YE that we graciously inclining to the humble petition of our well beloved subjects the Parish Clerks aforesaid and the better to enable them in performing that service from time to time to be required at their and every of their hands as well. By ourself our heirs and successors and by our Lord Mayor of our City of London for the time being for the better government rule and order of them and every of them thereafter and of all such as shall succeed them in the office and offices of Parish Clerks of the several and respective parishes and parish churches within our said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof our City of Westminster our Borough of Southwark and the said fifteen parishes adjoining to them respectively of our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion have willed ordained constituted and declared and granted. And by these presents for us our heirs and successors do will ordain constitute declare and grant that all and singular the several and respective Parish Clerks of the several and respective parishes and parish churches as well appropriate or impropriate as otherwise of and within the City or suburbs of London and the liberties thereof our City of Westminster and Borough of Southwark and likewise of the fifteen outparishes adjoining commonly called and known by the several names of St Clement Danes, St Giles in the Fields, St James Clerkenwell, St Katherine near the Tower, St Leonard Shoreditch, St Martin in the Fields, St Mary Matfelon alias Whitechapel, St Magdalen Bermondsey, the Savoy parish alias St John of the Savoy, Lambeth, St Mary Newington, Redriff St Mary, Islington, Stepney and St John of Jerusalem alias Hackney for ever hereafter for their better order rule and government and for the profit commodity and relief of the good and honest parish clerks and to the fear and terror of all such evil and wicked offenders as are or shall be of the same fellowship. By virtue of these presents shall be one body corporate and politic in deed and name by the names of Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and them by the names of Mater Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent. We do by these presents for ourselves and successors really and fully make create ordain constitute and declare to be one body corporate and politic in deed and name and that the same name of Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent they and their successors shall and may have perpetual succession and that they and their successors by the name of Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent shall for ever hereafter be persons able and capable in law to purchase hold retain and enjoy in perpetuity or for term of year of years or otherwise in whatsoever sort manors messuages lands tenements liberties privileges jurisdictions franchises and other hereditaments whatsoever of whatsoever kind nature or quality they be to them and their successors or otherwise in what sort soever. And also all manner of goods chattels and things whatsoever of what name nature or quality soever they be and of what value soever. And also to do execute all and singular other things whatsoever touching or concerning their said manors messuages lands tenements goods or chattels for the good government of their said Fellowship and of every member thereof by the name aforesaid. And that by the said name of Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent they and their successors shall be able to plead and be impleaded to answer and be answered and to defend and be defended in whatsoever courts and places and before any judge or judges and other person and officers of us our heirs and successors whatsoever in all summons pleas suits plaints matters and demands of whatsoever kind quality or sort they shall be in the same manner and form as any other of our liege peoples and subjects of this our realm of England being persons able and capable in law or any other body corporate and politic within this our realm of England can or may have purchase possess receive use retain give grant let alien assign dispose plead or be impleaded answer or be answered unto defend or be defended do permit or execute. And that the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and their successors for ever hereafter have and may have a common seal to serve for the causes and businesses of them and their successors and shall and may have power to change break alter and to make new the said seal from time to time at their pleasure as they and their successors shall think best; AND FURTHER we will and for us our Heirs and Successors we do grant unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to their successors for ever that for ever hereafter there shall be one of the fellowship aforesaid in manner and form as in these presents mentioned and authorised to be made chosen and named who shall be and shall be called Master of the fellowship of the of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent. And likewise that there shall be and may be two of the fellowship aforesaid chosen and named which shall be and shall be called the Wardens of the fellowship of Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent. And also that there shall and may be seventeen of the said fellowship in manner and from hereafter in these presents expressed named and chosen which shall and shall be called the Assistants of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent. And from time to time shall be assistant and aiding the said Master and Wardens of the fellowship aforesaid. And that the said Master Wardens and Assistants or the greater part of them whereof the Master and one of the Wardens for the time being to be always two shall and may have full power and authority to make constitute ordain and set down from time to time such reasonable laws statutes decrees ordinances and constitutions in writing with such reasonable fines penalties or amercement as to them or the greater part of them whereof the Master and one of the Wardens for the time being to be always two shall deem good wholesome profitable honest and necessary according to their discretions for touching and concerning the rules and Government of the said Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent. All and singular which laws statutes decrees ordinances and constitutions so to be made as aforesaid we will and command for us our heirs and successors to be from time to time observed and kept under the pains and penalties therein to be contained so as the same laws statutes decrees ordinances constitutions penalties fines and amercement reasonable and not repugnant to the laws and statutes of this realm or to our prerogative royal or to the canons and constitutions of the Church of England or laudable customs thereof. And that the same Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and their successors shall and may levy fines and amercement to their only use by such lawful ways and means and in such lawful manner as shall be ordained in and by any other charters of like nature granted to any other Company or Corporation within our said City of London without the let or hindrance of us our heirs or successors for the same. All which laws statutes decrees orders and constitutions so as aforesaid to be made and all and every the laws statutes and ordinances concerning the said Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and liberties thereof heretofore made and ratified confirmed and allowed under the said Parish Clerks of London and liberties thereof being under the hand and seal of the late Lord Chancellor of England Lord Treasurer and two chief justices not contrary or repugnant to this our grant we will and command by these presents to be in all things well and truly performed and fully ratified established and confirmed unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent; AND for the better executing of this our grant in that behalf we have assigned created named constituted and made and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do assign create name constitute and make our well beloved subject Basil Smith Clerk of the parish church of St Andrew Holborn to be the first and present Master of the fellowship of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent to continue in the same office until the feast of the Ascension of our Lord God next following the date hereof and from thence until one other of the said fellowship shall be chosen and named unto the said office of Master of the said fellowship according to the ordinances and provisions hereafter in these presents mentioned and expressed unless he the said Basil Smith shall in the mean time happen to die or upon just cause be removed from the said office; AND also we have assigned named constituted and made and by these presents for us our heirs and successors we do assign name constitute and make our well beloved subjects John Onslowe and Thomas Baker to be the first and present Wardens of the said fellowship of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to continue in the said office of Wardens until the said feast of the Ascension of our Lord God next coming after the date of these presents if the said John Onslowe and Thomas Baker shall respectively so long live and shall not for some just cause in the meantime be lawfully removed from their said offices and from thence until two others of the said fellowship be chosen into the said office of Wardens of the said fellowship according to the ordinances and provisions in these presents expressed and declared; AND WE have assigned named constituted and made and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do assign name constitute and make our well beloved subjects Matthew England Thomas Sutton Jefferey Coles Richard Weoley John Heaps Thomas Cotes James Robinson John Rice John Sam William Stempe Thomas Price Toby Perkes Peter Crew Richard Fist William Cranford William Gastill and Richard Jarvis to be the first and present Assistants of the said fellowship of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent to continue in the said office and offices of Assistant during their natural lives saving such of them as for misbehaving him or themselves in their said office or for some other reasonable cause shall be removed; AND FURTHER WE will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors we do grant unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to their successors that the Master Wardens and Assistants of the said fellowship for the time being or the greater part of them whereof we will that the Master and one of the two Wardens for the time being to be two from time to time for ever hereafter shall have full power and authority by virtue of these presents to assemble and meet together in their common hall yearly and every year upon the feast day of together in their common hall yearly and every year upon the feast day of the Ascension of our Lord God to elect and nominate one other of the said Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent which shall be Master of the said fellowship for one whole year from thence next ensuing. And from thence until one other of the said fellowship according to the ordinances and provisions in these presents expressed and declared. And that he which shall be so chosen and named into the said office shall take his corporal oath before the last Master of the said fellowship his predecessor and the wardens of the said fellowship or any two of them for the time being well and truly to execute the said office of the Master of the said fellowship of Parish Clerks. To which said last Master and Wardens or any two of them for the time being we do hereby give full power and authority to administer the same oath to the said Master accordingly. And that after the said oath so to be taken as aforesaid the said Master so sworn shall have and exercise the same office for one whole year next ensuing. And from thence until one other of the said Parish Clerks be chosen and sworn unto the said office in form aforesaid if in the meantime he has not upon just cause removed from his said office or shall happen to decease, and that they shall and may elect nominate and choose two other of the said Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent who shall be Wardens of the said fellowship for one whole year from thence next ensuing and from thence until the other of the said fellowship be chosen into the said offices of Wardens of the same fellowship according to the ordinances and provisions in these presents expressed and declared. And that they which shall be chosen and named unto the offices of Wardens of the said fellowship of fellowship of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent before they be admitted to execute their said offices shall take their corporal oaths before the Master and Wardens of the said fellowship their last predecessors or any two of them well and truly to execute the said office of Wardens in all things touching and concerning those same offices. To which the said Master and last Wardens or to any two of them we do give full power and authority to administer the said oath to the said Wardens accordingly. And that after each oath as aforesaid so to be taken they shall and may exercise the said offices of Wardens for one whole year next ensuing. And from thence until two others of the said fellowship be chosen and sworn unto the said offices of Wardens of the said fellowship in manner and form before in these presents expressed and declared if in the meantime they or either of them be not upon just cause removed from his or their offices or shall happen to decease; PROVIDED nevertheless that we declare our royal will and pleasure to be that the said Master Wardens and Assistants of the said fellowship of the Parish Clerks and their successors shall not elect or choose above the Master and one Warden at the most in any one year out of the said parish clerks of the said City of Westminster and the said fifteen outparishes adjacent anything aforementioned to the contrary notwithstanding; AND FURTHER we will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do grant unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to them successors for ever that if it shall happen that the Master and Wardens of the said fellowship for the time being or any of them at any time within one year after that they or any of them be chosen unto his or their office or offices to decease or be removed from his or their office or offices, which said Master and Wardens or any of them we will shall be removable and be removed by the greater part of the said Master Wardens and Assistants of the said fellowship for the time being whereof the Master and one of the Wardens for the time being to be two for evil government or misbehaviour or for any other reasonable cause that then and so often it shall and may be lawful to such and so many of the said Master Wardens and Assistants which shall be then living and remaining or the greater part of them as aforesaid at their pleasure to choose make and swear one other or others of the said fellowship to be Master Warden or Wardens of the said fellowship according to the orders and provisions before in these presents expressed and declared to exercise and execute the said office of Master or offices of Wardens of the said fellowship respectively until the said feast day of the Ascension of our Lord God then following and from thence until some others be chosen in their places or stead or they be removed or die as aforesaid. The said Master Warden or Wardens so to be elected and chosen first taking his or their corporal oath and oaths in form as is aforesaid and so as often as the case shall require; AND WE will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors we do grant unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to their successors that whensoever it shall happen any of the Assistants of the said fellowship for the time being to die or be removed by the greater part of the Master Wardens and Assistants of the said fellowship for the time being whereof the Master and one of the Wardens for the time being to be always two for evil government and misbehaviour or for other reasonable cause that then and so often it shall and may be lawful to and for the said Master Wardens and Assistants or so many of the said Assistants which shall then survive and remain or the greater part of then whereof the Master and one of the Wardens for the time being to be two at their will and pleasure from time to time to choose and name one or more or others of the said fellowship to be Assistant or Assistants of the same fellowship in his or their places or stead which shall so happen to die or be removed as is aforesaid, and that he or they after they be chosen and named to be Assistant or Assistants of the said fellowship shall take their corporal oath before the Master and Wardens of the said fellowship for the time being or any two of them well and truly to execute the said office or offices of Assistant or Assistants to which said Master and Wardens or any two of them we do by these presents give full power and authority to administer the same oath accordingly and so often as the case shall require; AND FURTHER we will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors for the better order rule and government of all and singular the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent from time to time and their successors, we do by these presents grant that it shall and may be lawful to and for the said Master and Wardens of the said fellowship or any two of them for the time being to administer and give unto all and every the several and respective Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent the oath in these words ensuing videlicet: You shall swear that you shall be true to our Sovereign Lord the King that now is and to his heirs and successors Kings of England. You shall be in all lawful things and causes obedient to the Master and Wardens of this company and fellowship of Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to be under the government and order that now is and hereafter shall be belonging to the said company and fellowship. You shall at all times unless you be let by sickness or other just cause come to the Master and Wardens to all assemblies for the necessary use commodity and profit of the said company and fellowship so often as you shall be by them or their common officer warned thereunto and upon reasonable request to pay and bear your part of all manner of charges belonging to the said company and fellowship as all other parish clerks and brethren of this company do or ought to do. You shall know no conventicles or assemblies nor any deed done that may be prejudicial to the state or harmful to the said company, but you shall give warning to the Master and Wardens thereof or to some of them and to let the same as much as in you lieth and your own person to do the best always that in you lieth and you lawfully may for the benefit and profit of this company. All this you shall do and observe so God you help in Jesus Christ. AND WE do will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do charge and command every parish clerk of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent that now is or at any time hereafter shall be to take the said oath and observe the same as far as he possibly may or can without refusing or other neglect of the same; AND WE do also by these presents for us our heirs and successors command that all and every the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid shall weekly bring or send unto the Clerks Hall of the fellowship aforesaid every Tuesday before six in the evening a true and perfect note in writing with the names subscribed of all the Christenings and Burials which have been done in their several parishes the week before and of what disease every particular party in their bill mentioned died so near as they can learn or understand; WE DO also by these presents for us our heirs and successors straitly charge and command that where no parish clerk is the sexton gravemaker and all other persons whomsoever that shall at any time hereafter do or perform the office of a parish clerk at the burial of the dead instead of a parish clerk in any church chapel churchyard and place for burial of the dead within the cities borough and parishes aforesaid and every and any of them upon every Tuesday weekly before six of the clock in the evening as aforesaid to bring or cause to be brought to the Master and Wardens of the said fellowship of parish clerks to their common hall for the time being or elsewhere they shall appoint a true and perfect note in writing with his name subscribed for all the burials which have been performed in the said several last mentioned churchyards and places for burial of the dead respectively the week before and of what particular diseases every particular party in their note to be mentioned died so near as they can learn or understand. MOREOVER our further will and pleasure is and we do also for us our heirs and successors require and command prohibit and forbid that no parish clerk whatsoever, sexton, gravemaker or other person or persons whomsoever that doth or shall execute the office of a parish clerk as aforesaid within the Cities Borough or parishes aforesaid or any of them shall by any sinister practice or means utter disperse or declare the number of such as shall die of the plague unto any manner of persons before the Lord Mayor of the City of London for the time being hath received their books. And that the Wardens of the said fellowship of Parish Clerks for the time being have given them warning to do the same. And that no parish clerk sexton gravemaker or other person or persons whatsoever shall deliver by himself or any other for him any false or untrue report in their weekly bill or other than such as shall be in all points answerable to the precedent or copies which he shall weekly receive from the Wardens of the said company of Parish Clerks for the time being. And every parish clerk of the several churches within the said Cities Borough and fifteen outparishes aforesaid shall weekly in their several bills or reports set down the name and surnames of all such freemen as shall be buried in their several parishes, and of what company everyone so buried was free. And that every parish clerk of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and of the fifteen outparishes aforesaid may be the better able to give unto us our heirs and successors the more certain and exact account of the said several diseases and casualties from time to time happening in the several and respective parishes within the places aforesaid and every of them, we do hereby for us our heirs and successors require and command that all and every searcher and searchers of the bodies of such person and persons that shall happen to die in every or any of the parishes aforesaid respectively as shall be thought fit to be searched shall make true reports weekly every Tuesday by four of the clock in the afternoon at the farthest to the parish clerks of that parish wherein they are and shall be appointed and trusted to be searchers of the several diseases and casualties of all and every such person and persons as shall die in every the parishes aforesaid respectively; MOREOVER our will and pleasure is and we do hereby for us our heirs and successors charge and command require and appoint that every Parish Clerk of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen parishes adjacent shall upon reasonable summons and warning make their appearance at such times and places as shall be to them appointed by the common officer of the said fellowship and company in the name of the Master Wardens or any two of them whether it be for any quarter day to be kept or for any other business or service to be done for ourself our heirs and successors or the Lord Mayor of the City of London for the time being; AND FURTHER we will and by these presents for us our heirs and successors command ordain and appoint that every Parish Clerk hereafter to be chosen or admitted into the service of Parish clerk in any parish church within the said City and suburbs of London or the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen parishes adjacent shall be examined and approved by the Master and one of the Wardens at the least of the fellowship of Parish Clerks whether he be able to sing the Psalms of David according to the usual tunes used in the said parish churches and whether he be able to write for the making of his weekly certificate for our service. And if he be otherwise found and tried by the said Master and Wardens as aforesaid for the time being then upon complaint made by the Master and one of the Wardens as aforesaid to the Ordinary or Chancellor of the said Diocese or peculiar respectively they the said Ordinary or Chancellor of the said Diocese or peculiar respectively upon the due proof or certificate made of his sufficiency shall suspend the said insufficient new chosen clerk from his place of service of a Parish Clerk for the causes alleged as aforesaid and cause them to whom the election of right shall belong to make choice of a more sufficient man in his place and room; AND WHEREAS the said fellowship and Company of Parish Clerks of the City of London and liberties thereof in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred twenty and five had a printing press for printing of their weekly bills of Burial and Christening to be and remain in their hall allowed and appointed unto them by the then Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Bishop of London, which the Parish Clerks have ever since and still do enjoy. We therefore of our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion have granted and confirmed. And by these presents for us our heirs and successors do grant and confirm unto the Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the said fellowship of Parish Clerks of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes adjacent and to their successors forever of a printing press to be and remain in their hall for the printing of their and every of their weekly and yearly bills of Burial and Christening from time to time happening in their and every of their several parishes from time to time as the said fellowship of Parish Clerks does at this present and ever since the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred twenty and five have had and enjoyed the same without any denial hindrance or interruption of any the officers or ministers of us our heirs and successors or of any other person or persons whomsoever; NEVERTHELESS our royal will and pleasure is and we do hereby for us our heirs and successors ordain that the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London for the time being shall for ever hereafter nominate limit and appoint unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the fellowship of Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen parishes adjacent such a printer for the effecting and performing of that service only of printing of their said weekly and general bills of Burial and Christening as aforesaid and shall be according to a decree heretofore made and established by our High Court of Starchamber and not otherwise; AND in our gracious respect of the well being of the said Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen parishes adjacent as aforesaid and their successors we do by these presents for us our heirs and successors straitly charge and command that no other printer or printers or other person or persons whomsoever but such printer and printers person and persons only as now is are or shall be authorised as aforesaid to be printer and printers for the said fellowship shall at any time hereafter print or cause to be printed any of the said weekly or general bills or reports of the Burial or Christening aforesaid; AND WHEREAS we are credibly informed and given to understand that there are certain ancient duties commonly called parish clerks and that all the parish clerks within our said kingdom for the most part have and still do collect receive and take to their own several and respective use and uses of the several and particular householders and parishioners of and in every several parish respectively their said wages and duties without denial or contradiction. And that divers of the said parish clerks themselves within our said city of London and the liberties thereof have times out of mind and still do receive their own wages and duties of the several parishioners within their several parishes; AND for as much and upon mature consideration thereupon it hath been thought just reasonable and requisite that all the said parish clerks within our said City London and the liberties thereof the nine outparishes and the City of Westminster and their successors should collect and receive their several wages and duties themselves as well as other parish clerks within our realm of England and some also within our said City of London usually have and do receive the same as aforesaid. And we taking the same into our princely consideration and holding it also fit and meet in our own princely judgement that all the parish clerks of all the churches within our said Cities of London and Westminster the suburbs and liberties thereof and Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes and parishes churches aforesaid should collect and receive their said wages and duties themselves in their several and respective parishes and dispose of the same to their particular use being the chief part of their livelihood and maintenance and recompense for their service and employment in their several charges and places; KNOW YE therefore that we of our more abundant grace certain knowledge and mere motion have willed ordained declared commanded and appointed and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do will ordain declare command and appoint that for ever hereafter all and every the parish clerks of and within the several parishes within our said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster and Borough of Southwark the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and their successors respectively shall and may by themselves their deputy or deputies servant or servants from henceforth from time to time for ever collect receive and take to their and every of their own proper use and uses severally and respectively of the several and respective householders and parishioners as aforesaid dwelling and inhabiting in every parish within the several and respective cities and places aforesaid all such wages and duties by what name or names so ever called or known as formerly have been had collected and received for and in respect of parish clerks wages and duties arising attaining and growing due yearly half yearly quarterly or otherwise from time to time within all and every the said several and respective parishes within the said City of London the suburbs and liberties thereof the city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark the fifteen outparishes aforesaid in such and the same manner as any of the said parish church clerks now does or which by any other the parish church clerk or clerks within all or any parish or parishes within our kingdom of England aforesaid hath or ought to have been demanded had taken and received. And that without diminution denial or contradiction of any person or persons whomsoever; AND to this end that every Parish Clerk being a member of the said fellowship of Parish Clerks of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster and Borough of Southwark and of the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and their successor parish clerks may have hold and enjoy the full benefit of this our grant and of our gracious intention toward them herein declared we do hereby for us our heirs and successors give full power and authority unto all and every parish church clerk and parish church clerks being member or members of the said fellowship of the said parish church clerks of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the city of Westminster and the Borough of Southwark the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and their successors that they and every of them shall have full power and authority by virtue of these presents from time to time for ever hereafter to ask demand receive perceive and take in his or their and every of their own name or names and to his and their every of their own particular and respective use and uses all and every such and the aforesaid payment and duties commonly called parish clerks wages or duties to be collected for or in respect of parish clerks wages or duties as shall from time to time arise grow due or be payable by any householder or parishioner inhabiting or to be inhabiting within all and every said several and respective parishes within the said city and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid charged or to be charged with the payment of any such wages or duties called and collected or to be collected as parish clerks duties or wages as the same have been formerly collected without diminution as aforesaid. And the same wages duties or payments so received and taken to have hold retain and enjoy to his and their and every of their own particular use and uses respectively without any manner of account reckoning recompense or other thing whatsoever to us our heirs and successors or to any our officers or ministers or other person or persons whatsoever to be rendered paid made or given for the same or any part or parcel thereof; MOREOVER for that divers houses and other buildings have been in times past and of late years newly erected and built in and about our said Cities of London and Westminster the Borough of Southwark and parishes aforesaid which have not paid anything towards the maintenance of the said parish clerks nor as yet have been assessed to and for the payment of the said wages and duties aforesaid and buildings other houses and buildings may in time hereafter be erected and built within the parishes aforesaid all or some of them we do therefore by these presents for us our heirs and successors authorise and require the Bishops of the Dioceses for the time being or his or their Chancellor or Chancellors respectively where any new buildings are or shall be erected hereafter within the aforesaid City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid or any of them upon notice to him or them to be given by the parish clerk of the respective parishes wherein he or they shall execute the office and duty of a parish clerk of such houses or building within every or any such parish and parishes to be erected and built to rate and assess or cause to be rated and assessed the same houses and building being not formerly assessed that the inhabitants of them and every of them shall and may pay and satisfy and from time to time cause to be paid and satisfied to the said parish clerk and parish clerks and their successors all such and the like fitting and proportionable duties wages and benefits as for the like house houses or buildings within the said parish and parishes are and heretofore have been usually paid by the inhabitants of the said parish wherein the said new building and houses have been or shall be erected and not otherwise; AND FURTHER to the end and intent that all householders and parishioners inhabiting within all or any such of the parishes in our said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof our said City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid may take especial notice and knowledge of our said pleasure. We do by these presents for us our heirs and successors straitly charge and require and also formally enjoin and command all and every the parishes within our said city of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and that hereafter shall dwell and inhabit within any of the said parishes respectively and which are or shall be charged or chargeable with the payment or answering of the said duties or payments commonly called parish church clerk duties and wages and to the said parish clerk due appertaining and belonging that they and every of them do from time to time and at all times for ever hereafter well and truly pay unto all and every the parish clerk and parish clerks of all and every the aforesaid parish and parishes within the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and of the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and to their successor parish church clerks all the said wages duties and payments belonging and to be belonging to them the said parish clerk and every of them respectively as the same shall grow due or payable and ought to be paid as aforesaid upon demand thereof to be made by the said parish clerk and parish clerks their or any of their servants or servants assigns or deputies or any these respectively in such and the same sort or manner as the inhabitants and parishioners aforesaid or any of them respectively as aforesaid have heretofore paid the same wages and duties to any other person or persons whosoever as aforesaid and that without any diminution denial molestation or contradiction whatsoever; AND MOREOVER we do by these presents for us our heirs and successors straitly charge prohibit and forbid all and every the churchwardens and collectors for the poor now and for the time being and all other church and parish officers of all and singular the several and respective parishes appropriate or impropriate or otherwise within the Cities aforesaid the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and every of them that they nor any of them do at any time or times hereafter presume or attempt to alter or demand collect receive or take of or from the hand of any householder or parishioner inhabiting or which at any time hereafter shall inhabit within any the said several and respective parishes of or within our said City and suburbs of London or the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark or within the fifteen outparishes adjacent as aforesaid or any of them any of the said payment or dues commonly called or collected as parish clerk duties or wages or any part thereof as the same have heretofore been collected and received, but that they the said churchwardens and other officers and every of them do from henceforth absolutely desist and forswear and shall from time to time for ever hereafter quietly permit and suffer all and every the parish church clerk of all and singular the several churches within the Cities suburbs liberties Borough and parishes aforesaid respectively from time to time to collect and receive the same their wages and duties themselves or by their or any of their servant or servants assigns or deputies or any of them without any denial interruption suit molestation of contradiction of any of the said churchwardens or other church or parish officers or their or any of their successors upon pain of the displeasure and indignation of us our heirs and successors and of such other punishment as by all laws can or may be inflicted upon them or any of them as wilful offenders and contemners of this our royal will and command; AND we do hereby and appoint and by these presents for us our heirs and successors we do give and grant unto every of the parish clerks of all and every the parishes aforesaid and to their successors and every of them being or which shall be at any time or times hereafter a member or members of the said fellowship of Parish Clerk of and in the several and respective parishes of and within our Cities of London and Westminster our Borough of Southwark and the fifteen parishes adjacent in case of denial or wilful refusal of payment of their wages and duties or of the wages and duties due unto them or any of them or any part thereof full power and authority in their and every of their own name or names respectively to sue for and recover their said wages and duties and prosecute any person or persons so denying or refusing the payment thereof to the said parish church clerks or any of them in our constitutional court or courts and in the ecclesiastical court and courts of us our heirs and successors according to the ecclesiastical laws of their realm; AND we do likewise for us our heirs and successors charge and command the several churchwarden and churchwardens of all and every the parish and parishes aforesaid respectively for the time being that upon notice at any time or times hereafter to be given by the parish clerks of their said parish of any parishioner or parishioners of the parishes within the Cities Borough and places aforesaid or any of them denying or refusing to pay the said duties or clerks wages they the said churchwarden and churchwardens of the respective parish and parishes to whom the same doth or shall belong shall within one month after notice given present the names of such deniers or refusers to his and their Ordinary to be proceeded against to the laws ecclesiastical as by the common and ecclesiastical laws of our realm of England they have heretofore done and ought to do. And further for that the said Parish Clerks of the said several and respective parishes of and within our said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid now and for the time being in respect of their great and continual attendance and charge which they do and are to undergo in their several parishes and for the service of us our heirs and successors our will and pleasure is and we do hereby for us our heirs and successors grant unto the said Master Wardens and Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the parish churches of the said City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and to their successors that they and every of them shall be from time to time for ever freed and exempted from executing bearing and undergoing of any other office or offices whatsoever in the parishes aforesaid or any of them save in their aforesaid fellowship rules themselves or any of them shall desire the same or shall yield him or themselves to the executing bearing and undergoing them; AND because our pleasure and express commandment is that all and singular the said Parish Clerks and their successors and every of them shall be ordered and governed according to this our present grant and according to such orders and statutes as are already or hereafter shall be made and confirmed in such manner and form as is before by these presents appointed and declared and that such of their fellowship or shall oppose themselves against this our present grant or such good orders and statutes as are or shall be hereafter made by the Master and both the Wardens and the greater part of their Assistants as is aforesaid for the public good and profit of the said parish clerks may receive due and condign punishment according to their demerits in that behalf; WE therefore will and by these presents for us and our heirs and successors do straitly charge and command the Lord Mayor of our City of London for the time being and all and singular justices of peace sheriffs bailiffs constables headboroughs and all other the officers, ministers and subjects of us our heirs and successors whomsoever whom the same shall pr may concern that they and every of them be from time to time and for all times for ever hereafter aiding helping counselling furthering comforting and assisting unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster and Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and every of them for the time being and to their successors to do have enjoy exercise and execute all and singular thing and things whatsoever by us before in and by these presents granted unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren aforesaid and every or any part or parcel thereof according to the tenor and true intent and meaning of these presents; AND FURTHER know ye that we of our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion have given and granted and by these presents for us our heirs and successors do give and grant unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the said fellowship of Parish Clerks of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster and the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and to their successors for ever our especial licence and free and lawful liberty power and authority to get purchase receive and take to them and their successors for ever as well of us our heirs and successors as of any other person and persons whomsoever manors messuages lands tenements tithes annuities rents reversions profit or hereditaments whatsoever not exceeding in the whole the clear yearly value of fifty pounds so always as the same be not holden of us our heirs or successors immediately in chief or by knight’s service nor of any other person or persons by knight’s service notwithstanding that a writ of Ad quod Dampnum hath not formerly issued concerning the same the statute of not putting of lands into mortmains or any other statutes or act heretofore made to the contrary thereof notwithstanding; AND also we do by these presents for us our heirs and successors give and grant like licence power and authority to all and every person and persons whomsoever to give grant and assure unto the said Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City and suburbs of London and the liberties thereof the City of Westminster the Borough of Southwark and the fifteen outparishes aforesaid and their successors manors messuages lands tenements tithes rents reversions annuities and other hereditaments whatsoever not exceeding the full value of fifty pounds so always as the same be not holden of us our heirs and successors immediately in chief or by knight’s service or any other person or persons by knight’s service notwithstanding that the said writ of Ad quod Dampnum hath not formerly issued concerning the same the statute or Act heretofore made to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding, although express mention of the true yearly value or certainty of the premises or any of them or of any other gifts or grants or letters patent by us or by any of our progenitors or predecessors to the Master Wardens Assistants and Brethren of the Parish Clerks of the City of London and liberties thereof the nine outparishes and the City of Westminster or any other letters patent heretofore to the Parish Clerks of the City of London made or granted in these presents and not mentioned or recited or any other stature act ordinance provision proclamation restraint to the contrary heretofore had made ordained or provided or any other thing cause or matter whatsoever to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding. IN WITNESS whereof we have caused these our letter to be made patent. WITNESS Ourself at Westminster the seven twentieth day of February in the fourteenth year of our reign.


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